If elves actually exist, they must live in a town as serene as Hallstatt. Tucked between towering mountains and a mirror-like lake, with 16th-century Alpine houses dotting among trees and lovely gardens, this place is so surreal that when you first set foot on it, you feel like stepping into a fairy tale.
For centuries, the village of Hallstatt in the Salzkammergut region has been known for its production of a very sought-after commodity: salt. As early as the Middle Bronze Age, humans in this area began exploiting the salt deposits beneath the earth’s surface and traded them for valuable resources. It formed the basis of the region’s prosperity up to the middle of the 20th century. Today, the village’s wealthy past is still visible in the fine architecture of the market square, the Hallstatt Lahn, and the 16th-century Alpine houses on the edge of the Hallstatt Lake.
Apart from the salt production, Austria’s oldest town is also known for its picturesque setting. It is a feast for the eyes, with enormous Dachstein mountains rising abruptly from narrow valleys on one side and the crystal clear lake on the other side. Flanked between is the fairytale town of Hallstatt, where delightful houses nestled among nature. Against such beauty, no one can resist taking a photo. Hence it is no surprise that this mountainous village has become one of the most photographed places on Earth in recent years.
How to get to Hallstatt from Salzburg
- From Salzburg, it is possible to make a day trip to Hallstatt. Most of the trip will follow this route: Salzburg – Bad Ischl – Hallstatt. From Salzburg to Bad Isch you can take either the bus, the Railjet (RJ) or the Regional Express (REX). But from Bad Ischl to Hallstatt, there is only REX.
- There are two options to travel from Salzburg to Hallstatt train stations:
- Option A – The fastest way to reach this town is taking Railjet (RJ) to Bad Ischl. From there, take the Regional Express (REX) to Hallstatt. The whole trip lasts about two hours. But it comes with a big price tag: 28.20€ for a one-way ticket.
- Option B – Another option is buying the Einfach-Raus-Ticket. This ticket is a mind-blowing deal for a group because it grants unlimited travel for up to five persons throughout Austria in one day. It’s valid from 9:00 on weekdays and from 0:00 on weekend and holidays. The price starts at 33€ for two persons and goes up to 45€ for five persons. However, the ticket only works on Regional Express (REX) and Regional Train (R) and cannot be used on RJ (Railjet). But as I mentioned above, the entire trip is viable by REX and it takes only 20 to 25 minutes longer than Option A. Therefore, you might consider this option if you are travelling in a group.
- At Hallstatt train station, you will have to take the ferry to the village. The ferry is timed to coincide with the train to/from Bad Ischl. It lasts about 10 minutes and costs around 4€. The time table can be found here. Please note that the last ferry leaves Hallstatt at 18:15.
- The locals are still living in Hallstatt. For this reason, you shouldn’t do anything that might disturb their daily life, for example, making noise or photographing inside their houses.